Zlatan Ibrahimovic kicks off his new year with a friendly in Doha when his side Paris Saint-Germain take on the Spanish giants Real Madrid – a chance for another battle with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ibrahimovic, who refers to himself in third person, is not just a footballer adored by millions but also one who has come under heavy criticism, just like Ronaldo.
“It’s a big game and it’s not every day that you get a chance to play against Real Madrid,” Ibrahimovic told Al Jazeera.
“I’m not the type of person that builds up the game.
“I can only play my game and the media does the commercial stuff.
“When we played against Portugal [World Cup playoffs], there was a lot of talk about me and Ronaldo and with both of us scoring, the match did turn out to be the way they had expected it.”
Any game involving two of the most exciting footballers on the planet becomes not only the fans’ but also the scriptwriters’ dream.
And when both of them get on the scoring sheet, like they did in November, it adds ingredient for lengthy conversations on social media and a great viewing on television.
“Zlatan will be very cool with Ronaldo,” Ibrahimovic said about the upcoming match.
“Zlatan will play the game and focus on the rest of the season for 2014.”
Away from talks of the individuals, every football fan or critic thinks the French league is weaker than those in Spain and Italy where Ibrahimovic had already played for Barcelona, Juventus and Inter Milan.
So, apart from an Ibrahimovi-Ronaldo battle, the friendly match against Real, with nothing but bragging rights on offer, is a good way to prepare PSG for their second half of the season as well as the Champions League knockout phase.
“It’s a good test for us and games like this shows where you and your team stands.
“It’ll be the same for them as well and that is what will make it an interesting game.”
Both stars wrapped up 2013 grabbing the headlines for their clubs - Ibrahimovic blasted a free-kick past Lille’s inform goal-keeper Vincent Enyeama in a 2-2 draw while Ronaldo got on the end of a free-kick for Madrid in a 3-2 away win at Valencia.
Sulaiman Folarin is The Voice of African Football. He tweets @Sulaiman4real
Source: Al Jazeera